Jimmy Eat World: Invented


RIYL: Anberlin, Get Up Kids, Sense Field

By now, most of you are probably already familiar with Jimmy Eat World’s back story. Arizona band gets major label deal, then gets dropped, then gets signed by another huge label, and finally enjoys commercial success. 2001’s Bleed American was packed to the ceiling with one sun-soaked hook after another, and each album that’s followed it has provided plenty more. After the dissonance of 2004’s Futures, Jimmy Eat World honed in on their pop sensibilities on 2007’s Chase This Light. Although the album didn’t deliver the kind of sales numbers it deserved, it still features some of vocalist Jim Adkins’ finest performances.

Invented, Jimmy Eat World’s seventh studio album, doesn’t divert too far from Chase This Light. If there’s one thing that immediately stands out, it would be the subtlety in some of the arrangements. Outside of a few cuts (“My Best Theory,” “Action Needs an Audience”), most of the material on Invented doesn’t try and hit you over the head with a flurry of power chords. This is a nuanced batch of songs, and producer Mark Trombino (Blink 182, Rocket from the Crypt) does a bang-up job of capturing all the small details. Whether it’s an acoustic guitar being strummed faintly in the background, or a track of harmony vocals, Trombino brings the listener into the room with the band. After a couple albums without him, it’s great to hear Jimmy Eat World back in a recording studio with the guy.

Sonic triumphs aside, Invented isn’t without its faults. Like much of Futures‘ second half, a few songs are dragged down by weaker vocal lines and a darker tone that doesn’t necessarily work well with some of the material. Jimmy Eat World are at their best when both their guitar riffs and vocal performances are soaked in melody. We’re not suggesting for every track to be an upbeat radio-ready number, but when the group surrenders too often to the somber side of their sound, things get less interesting. We’re not sure if Invented will be remembered as favorably as some of the older albums in their fantastic discography, but there certainly are enough fine moments on it to warrant your attention today. (DGC 2010)

Click here to read our interview with Jimmy Eat World lead singer Jim Adkins

Jimmy Eat World MySpace page

  

Ludo: Prepare the Preparations


RIYL: Sparks, My Chemical Romance, They Might Be Giants, Rocky Horror Picture Show

Ludo is a band that just keeps getting weirder, and that’s really saying something considering their second release was Broken Bride, a rock opera EP about atime-traveling scientist who, while on a quest to save his dead wife, ends up battling Satan and his army of zombies with his own legion of pterodactyls. The follow up to to Broken Bride was You’re Awful, I Love You. And while it found them on a major label for the first time, it didn’t stop singer/guitarist Andrew Volpe from penning horror-themed tunes about evil zombies in Lake Pontchartrain and stalker neighbors.

Ludo’s journey into insanity continues with Prepare the Preparations, an album that switches between lighthearted wackiness and the genuinely disturbing so much that it should be prescribed medication for manic depression.. It speaks volumes that the most mainstream-sounding track on Prepare the Preparations is “Whipped Cream,” a tongue-in-cheek ode to using the confectionery as a sex aid. From there things get downright insane. “Anything for You” is a deceptive love ballad that sounds normal at first, but as Volpe sings about his adventures in space, travels across the astral plane and meetings with leprechauns, it becomes apparent that this isn’t your typical love song. The same goes for “All the Stars in Texas” an ode from one bank robber to another, and “Manta Ray,” a song that may or may not be sung from the perspective of a man drowning himself (and someone else?) in his car. Its theme is subtle and not exactly clear. Something that cannot be said for the theatrical “Cyborgs vs Robots” and “Skeletons on Parade,” two songs so goofy that They Might Be Giants would think they’re too silly.

Ludo’s unique brand of weird will probably alienate ten times the people it attracts, but those who do enjoy Prepare the Preparations will absolutely fall in love with it. Most likely while driving to a horror movie convention. (Island 2010)

Ludo MySpace Page

  

Yo Gabba Gabba: Music Is…Awesome! Volume 2


RIYL: hipster bands, watching your kids dance

Landing a cool 10 months after the release of Volume I of Yo Gabba Gabba’s Music Is…Awesome! series, this set rights some of the wrongs of that first album by including some of the bands they overlooked the last time (Jimmy Eat World, MGMT, Datarock, and thank God they finally released the Ting Tings’ cover of “Happy Birthday”). The catch with this set is that the songs by the contributing rock bands are much better, but the songs from the show are, well, not. Yes, “Hold Still” finally makes an appearance, but it’s the lesser of the two versions that have appeared on the show. Meanwhile, the “Freeze Game” song here does not measure up to the ‘you can’t catch us!’ ‘Freeze’ song from another episode. (Perhaps they chose the version they did so they didn’t have two songs that featured Brobee whining about not being able to keep up.) Alas, the Aggrolites’ song “Banana” is still nowhere to be found, nor is GOGO13’s song “Pick It Up” which, years after their debut on the show, are still the two most commonly sung “Yo Gabba Gabba” songs in this writer’s household. Their exclusion from these sets is bordering on comical, if it weren’t so tragic. Still, the Weezer song (“All My Friends Are Insects”) is great, as are the songs by Hot Hot Heat (“Time to Go Outdoors”) and the Apples in Stereo (“That’s My Family”). In the end the album, much like the show, has some moments of genius, surrounded by stuff that you merely tolerate for the sake of your kids. No excuses, guys: put “Pick It Up” and “Banana” on the next set, or there will be hell to pay. (Filter 2010)

OK Go MySpace page
Click to buy Music Is Awesome! Volume 2 from Amazon

  

Lollapalooza 2010, The Final Recap: The Headliners, some final thoughts

This year’s batch of headliners is one of the strangest groups yet. Sunday was closed by another recently reunited monster of ’90s rock (witness Lolla organizer Perry Farrell giving his band Jane’s Addiction the final slot last year), Saturday night’s lineup featured arguably the biggest band in the world, while Friday’s opener – who easily drew the biggest crowd in Lolla history – is a million-selling pop star who first dazzled one of our writers on a Lolla side stage three years ago. Is it the most “alternative” group of closers they could have assembled? Probably not, but it’s very telling in a state-of-the-biz kind of way. We’ll leave it up to you as to whether that is a good or bad thing.

Let’s begin with the, um, enders, for lack of a better (or actual) word, in our week-long recap of the events at Lollapalooza 2010.

Chromeo, Friday, adidas Stage
Chromeo is officially ready for their close-up. They made lots of friends with this show, even if most of the audience was facing south in anticipation of Lady Gaga. Their riff on “Money for Nothing” was fun (they know their audience, that’s for sure), and even better was when they used Auto-Tune to sing, Sting-style, “I want my Chromeo.” Their new single “Don’t Turn the Lights Off” is a killer, and their other new songs sounded just as good.

Lady Gaga, Friday, Parkways Foundation Stage
Watching the crowd gather for Lady Gaga was an event unto itself. Her fans – and make no mistake, there isn’t anyone in all of music with a fan base as rabidly devoted as hers, ironic or otherwise – arrived early and parked in front of the Parkways stage all day long. Girls in fishnets, guys in drag, and more kids than we’ve ever seen at Lolla. Before Chromeo had even taken the stage at the northern end of the southern stages, there was already a bigger crowd waiting for Gaga than the one Depeche Mode played to last year. And Depeche played to a big crowd. But Gaga…this was borderline ridiculous. Some may have questioned Perry’s decision to bring Gaga back, since she’s now a full-fledged pop star, but he and the rest of the Lolla organizers were clearly laughing all the way to the bank.

Gaga_01
Photo by Dave Mead

As for the set, well, we lasted 20 minutes.


Read the rest after the jump...

Elogy: One


RIYL: Coldplay, Aqualung, Passion Pit

Not everyone can lead. It’s just a fact of life. Some will lead, and the rest will follow, and you will find no greater place to observe this behavior in action than in the world of music, where every band who scores even a sliver of attention inadvertently gives birth to a gaggle of copycats. Most of which, naturally, suck hard.

However, just because someone is a follower does not mean that they’re not bringing something new to the table, and California trio Elogy is a good example. From the first breath that singer Derek Cannavo takes on One, the band’s debut album, it’s clear that he really, really likes the way Chris Martin sings, executing both of Martin’s trademark moves (the aching baritone, followed by the aching falsetto) in a matter of seconds. And yet, for all the tricks the band may have stolen from other bands’ playbooks, One is a consistently engaging listen, stuffed to the gills with anthemic choruses and slice & dice programming that will make Passion Pit green with envy. The soaring “Eager We Are” will surely land in a CW show in the next six months, while “Welcome to Inertia” out-Aqualung’s Aqualung, skillfully blending major keys with full-blown melancholia. The band’s true star, though, is drummer Nick Lyman, who positively bashes his set when he’s not unleashing drum samples that sound like Everything but the Girl’s Walking Wounded set on puree.

If they can stay away from overblown power ballads like “Rest Your Senses” (think Staind’s “It’s Been Awhile” for the bedroom pop set), there should be little preventing Elogy from jumping to the next level. It may not be the most unique first step a band’s ever taken, but it would not be at all surprising to see Elogy evolve into a band that others want to copy. (Elogy 2010)

Elogy MySpace page
Click to buy One from Amazon

  

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